You did it. Your Wisconsin LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In Wisconsin, an LLC’s annual report consists of two parts: a Franchise Tax and a Public Information Report. Each LLC must submit these filings to the Wisconsin Comptroller every year to keep their information current. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
For brevity’s sake, we’ll refer to these two combined filings as the “Annual Report” in this guide.
What is the Wisconsin Annual Report? Why is it Important?
Consider an Annual Report the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each Wisconsin business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, registered agent information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an annual report.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your registered agent, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in Wisconsin might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. Anyone can find this information (including future clients and partners) by searching for your business name, so you want to update it regularly.
How Much Does the Wisconsin LLC Annual Report Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. If your LLC is domestic (formed within Wisconsin), each Annual Report only costs $25. Foreign entities (those formed outside the state), pay $80 per report instead.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in Wisconsin
Your LLC will need to file an Annual Report once per year, but the due date depends on when you originally formed your business. For domestic LLCs, your report is due by the last day of the quarter during which you filed your Articles of Organization. Here are the due dates:
- Q1 (January – March): March 31st
- Q2 (April – June): June 30th
- Q3 (July – September): September 30th
- Q4 (October – December): December 31st
So, if you initially formed your LLC on November 5, 2018, you would need to file an Annual Report every year by December 31st.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your Annual Report can yield some serious consequences.
There aren’t any late fees associated with the Wisconsin Annual Report, but there’s a potentially worse penalty looming if you fail to file. Any outstanding reports will cause your LLC to lose its good standing with the state. And if you go one full year past your due date without filing, the state can administratively dissolve your LLC.
Now it’s time for the gritty details, how to actually complete a Wisconsin Annual Report. It’s a good idea to gather the necessary information beforehand. Here’s what the form requires:
- LLC name
- State of formation
- Registered agent name and office address
- Principal office address
- Name, title, and business address of each member or manager
- Nature of the LLC’s business
Got all that? You might know it off the top of your head. If not, it’s all fairly easy to find on your Articles of Organization or digital corporate record.
Whether you do all of your business electronically or you prefer to leave a paper trail, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has a filing method for you.
Online Filing: From the Department of Financial Institutions homepage, hover over the “Corporations” tab and click “File an LLC or Corp Annual Report.” This will direct you to a page where you can enter your LLC name or ID number. Select your LLC and on the next page, click “File an Annual Report.” After you enter the necessary information, you can pay via credit or debit card, and you’re all set!
Filing by Mail: Download a hard copy Annual Report and fill it out. Then include a check and mail it to:
State of WI – Dept. of Financial Institutions
P.O. Box 93348
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348
Filing In Person: If you live in Madison, you can also hand-deliver your form and payment to:
Department of Financial Institutions
Division of Corporate & Consumer Services
201 W. Washington Ave. – Suite 300
Madison, WI 53703
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
As your Annual Report deadline approaches, the state will send your registered agent a courtesy reminder to file. But we recommend setting your own series of reminders on your phone, in your planner, or anywhere else, just to make sure you don’t forget.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle it?
You probably have a full plate as it is, and the thought of adding one more responsibility to your to-do list might make you shudder. You’re not alone.
Plenty of other LLC owners have outsourced their reporting duties to LLC services. These companies will take the entire process off your hands, handling your Annual Report each year. If that piques your interest, we recommend ZenBusiness, which is an experienced and trustworthy LLC company.
But their services aren’t restricted to forming an LLC or managing Annual Reports. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle registered agent responsibilities, and much more, all for a reasonably low price.
If thinking about your LLC responsibilities ties your stomach in knots, let ZenBusiness take some of those worries off your plate.
There you have it, everything you need to know about Wisconsin’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.